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Episode 13: "Jungle Fever"

CARTOON SUMMARY

Mario and the others are on their way through the jungle, destroying badly-drawn bamboo stumps wherever they go. Their goal is to find the famous witch doctor Sheldon, who is so skilled that he could cure mad cow's disease and knows the formula for a mascara that will instantly double the volume of your eyelashes. However, a group of Shy-guys has overheard this information and immediately reports it to Koopa while he's trying on accessories for the Amsterdam canal parade. Koopa quite likes the idea of extra-volume mascara and decides to go for the witch doctor himself.

The Marios, meanwhile, take a look at a surprisingly simplistic map and draw the conclusion that the witch doctor's village should be "just across this jagged line". They reach the jagged line and are almost killed by it. See, it's not really a purple line on the ground, it's a humongous chasm. The Princess wasn't wearing her contact lenses while studying the map, so she hadn't noticed. But every jungle comes standard with a scary ramshackle rope bridge over a chasm (Habitat ships them by the dozen, in vanilla or chocolate), and this jungle is no exception, so it only takes them a few seconds to locate a ramshackle rope bridge (in vanilla) over this particular chasm. The thing is, Koopa has ripped off the warning sign, and while the Marios are attempting to tap-dance over the rope bridge, he cuts the ropes that are holding the bridge. The whole thing falls apart, and while Mario and his gang are hanging onto the remains of the bridge, Koopa orders his Albatoss squadron to nuke them while they're defenseless and immobilized. Well, that would have been the best solution, but Koopa instead decides to waste this perfect chance to kill them and use itching powder-charged bombs instead of proper nukes. There's probably a very elaborate strategy behind this decision. Either that or the writers couldn't come up with anything better. Despite the itching, Mario manages to hop onto an Albatoss and take control of it, thus flying everyone to safety. This doesn't go unnoticed with Koopa's Shy-guys, and an Ostro egg is succinctly fired onto the Albatoss' face, which causes him to make a crash landing. Mario and co have survived the crash, but the itching powder's nasty effect is playing havoc on them. Except for the Princess, who somehow isn't affected by the powder, all they can do is scratch like nutters.

Next, we meet the great witch doctor. He's clearly a little out of his mind, as he orders his patients to dance on top of their houses and then tells 'em they're cured. I've heard about alternate health care methods, but this is taking the joke too far. Koopa then pops by and rips off the witch doctor with an unconvincingly-drawn canvas bag. The witch doctor's assistant then has a clumsily-animated freak attack. Mario and his gang are too late to stop this tragedy, and besides, due to the itching powder, all they can do now is "stay here and commit itchicide". Or scratchicide, depends on how you look at it. The doctor's assistant, the aptly-named Butterfingers tries to mix an anti-itch potion, but fails miserably. Now, prepare yourself for the most stunning plot twist of the entire series; the Princess (who is unaffected by the itching powder, remember) decides to go in against Koopa on her own. No, really, I'm not making this up.

Koopa, meanwhile, is forcing the witch doctor to mix a potion that will murder the Princess (it's a simple formula: nitroglycerin and very little else). The Princess and Butterfingers, who has joined her on this mission, have arrived at Koopa's deluxe suite, but they are assaulted by a Cobrat and blow their cover. They are rapidly surrounded by Shy-guys and after some verbal flirting between Koopa and the Princess, the witch doctor is ordered to splash the nitro over the Princess. Only the doctor has some plans of his own, and showers Koopa with his potion instead. And it's not nitro, it's an extra-strong itching potion (the reason why he didn't kill Koopa with an instant-death potion is probably because he had fallen for Koopa's twisted charm during their short time together. Either that or the writers are all hippies). And to complete the happy ending, Mario, Luigi and Toad's killer itch is cured with a helping of spaghetti. Actually, that doesn't really cure them, it just takes their mind off the itching. And if that doesn't work, they can always send in the LSD.

WHAT'S GOOD?
  • Quite a lot of different enemies make an appearance
  • There's lots of stuff going on.
  • The Princess actually goes out and does something useful on her own! O_O
  • It's nice to see the Shy-guys as the "main" minion instead of Troopas for a change.
WHAT'S BAD?
  • Could've used a more punchy title, something like "Scratch me, Koopa".
  • Why does Koopa waste such an opportunity to kill his foes?
  • How come the Princess is the only one to be unaffected by the itching?
  • The new characters are a bit of an acquired taste (but they're not too bad)
OVERALL
This one's decent enough. It has quite some potential, and I would've rated it higher if it didn't have one or two large plot flaws. It's still enjoyable despite that.

EPISODE RATING: 3.0/5.0

LIVE-ACTION SEGMENT
As a birthday gift, Luigi is given a free dance lesson by Shabba Doo. Shabba who? Never mind, when Mario and Luigi do get down to some "dancing" with Mister Doo, all we see are close-ups of the legs of their stunt doubles wriggling about. .....No comment.....